SUMMER is here and while the public is hoping the spell of hot weather continues, the canine residents of Dogs Trust Harefield in West London might be thinking otherwise.
Dogs Trust, the UK's largest dog welfare charity, would like to remind the public that canines can suffer in the heat and need our help to keep cool this summer.
Unlike their human counterparts, dogs cannot enjoy a refreshing iced beverage, nor can they appreciate the cool of a gentle breeze through light summer outerwear. Our hot and hairy hounds need your help to keep them happy and healthy this summer.
While enjoying fun in the sun, please remember that dogs can suffer from the same problems that humans do, including overexposure to the sun, overheating, dehydration and even sunburn. I urge dog owners to keep their hounds happy this summer by following Dogs Trust's advice: * Never leave your dog in the car as this can quickly lead to a fatality. Even parking in the shade is very dangerous, as temperatures in the car can still soar. * If you are travelling anywhere in the car with your dog make sure you have a supply of water. * Walk your dog in the morning and evening when the weather is cooler and make sure shady spots and drinking water are available. * Clip the fur of particularly hairy hounds and apply canine suncream to areas most likely to burn: Ears, nose, and belly. Human suncream can be toxic to dogs, so buy a special pet version from your local pet shop. * Be extra vigilant with older, short nosed and overweight dogs as they are more prone to overheat. In a real emergency, wet your dog thoroughly with cool water, never iced, and use a household fan to blow cool air over their head and body. Seek urgent veterinary attention. * If your dog takes a dip in a lake or pool make sure you rinse it as soon afterwards as possible. Never allow your dog to drink from ponds unless the water is clear as algae in the water can produce toxins that are fatal.
A Met Office spokesperson said: "Most parts of the UK have benefited from some lovely weather over recent weeks and had a real taste of summer.
"The Met Office works to help people stay well in hot weather. In fact, from June to mid-September, we operate a Heat-Health watch system in association with the Department of Health across England and Wales, aimed at the vulnerable in society. It's great that Dogs Trust is issuing this advice to prevent dogs being unnecessarily endangered in any hot weather we may have."
CHRIS LAURENCE Veterinary director